Shut Up And Say Something

Excerpted from banner ad on NYTimes.com, January 12, 2015. 

Excerpted from banner ad on NYTimes.com, January 12, 2015. 

Compare these two statements: 

1. At Volvo, we're committed to building the world's safest vehicles. 

2. Nobody should die in a new Volvo by 2020. 

The first—snore—is what companies typically say. Bold, but in a predictable way, making the assertion wholly ignorable, even banal. (Oswald's Axioms: Be committed and dedicated to never using the words "committed" or "dedicated.")

The second statement, while similar in intent, couldn't be more different. Rather than a narrow, chest-beating pledge, "nobody should die in a new Volvo by 2020" is a provocative storytelling and business-building platform. 

Rather than merely saying something boldly, it says something bold. 

My wishes for 2015: More companies do the same. And that Volvo puts aside its wayward rebranding efforts and returns to an idea it can actually own—driver safety.